Thursday, June 3, 2010

Taking a breath

Whew!  I don't mind telling you that we have been busy these past couple of months.  April and May were amazing for us this year, with so many new and exciting collaborators and projects to work with and on.  
Now we are ready to slooow down, reflect on our successes and challenges, and start planning for the fall (of course we may still make time for a few more performances over the summer too!).  

In the spirit of reflection I have been thinking about one of our core messages: to speak up, share stories, and work together to address the mental health needs we see in our lives and the lives of the community.  I want to take a minute to highlight some other organizations who I've recently noticed doing just that!
  
  • In this months Chicago Artists Resource Artsflash, there is a wonderful Guide to Affordable Health Care in Chicago.  The Chicago Artists Resource identified a real health need in their community (filled with artists who do not always have health insurance) and took steps to address it.  As an organization that values artists and the arts so highly, we are thrilled to see it!  Bravo to CAR, and if you're an uninsured artist take a minute to check this out.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services has created an interagency workgroup to draft a Strategic Framework for the department to provide a "roadmap" for improving the health status of individuals living with co-occurring disorders, and they want your input!  It is so wonderful to see a national health initiative being created that takes the collaboration of ideas and feedback from the public as part of the plan.  Click through to learn more, read the draft, and make your voice heard! The deadline for comments is June 18th.
  • Finally, I want to talk about your stories.  I know many of you have a story to share about an experience with mental illness.  You are the backbone of what we do at Erasing the Distance.  But we aren't alone in our efforts.  There are so many other wonderful groups working to break down barriers through personal narrative.  The SAMHSA Resource Center to Promote Acceptance, Dignity and Social Inclusion Associated with Mental Health (ADS Center) is one such organization.  They seek to correct misperceptions and misunderstanding by "putting a face on mental health and showing that it is a part of all of our lives."  If you would like to inspire others with your story you can check out their submission guidelines here.

Now, to all of you out there who are working to break the silence and improve the health and happiness of your communities, thank you!  I hope you have a weekend filled with joy and rejuvenation.

-Jessica 


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